Is a bus war brewing?

Rand sends word of this well-formed analysis by CNET's Stephen Shankland of a possible standards war between AMD and Intel over next-generation PC bus specs. AMD has been pushing its HyperTransport spec, and the company announced earlier this week that a host of big names in computers and networking equipment have joined a new consortium built around the spec. Notables include Cisco, NVIDIA, Sun, and Apple. Meanwhile, Intel has responded to HyperTransport with its 3GIO specification, which handles the same basic things.

I've thought this was an interesting fight as it's developed over the past year. However, since HyperTransport is billed as just an internal interconnect, I didn't understand the real significance of the fight—until I read this:

Both HyperTransport and 3GIO use a relatively small number of high-speed wires to carry data. 3GIO is explicitly designed as a way to connect external devices to a computer, whereas AMD currently is billing HyperTransport as a way to connect internal components. But communications chipmakers such as PMC-Sierra are working on using HyperTransport for connections that lead outside computing equipment, and Brookwood expects HyperTransport will evolve to accept add-in cards within a year, meaning it will start encroaching on the turf of PCI.
This is EISA vs. MicroChannel in the bid to replace PCI. AMD's got a big head start—HyperTransport's in the Xbox and nForce, and it's probably got the networking equipment market sewn up—while Intel is just plain big. Let's hope the looming bus war doesn't split the consumer PC market.
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